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BOWN + BACON

Jane Bown, Francis Bacon, 1980. Collection and Image © Hugh Lane Gallery. © Jane Bown Estate. 

  • Displays

Until 7 January 2024

Admission Free

Jane Bown, Francis Bacon, 1980. Collection and Image © Hugh Lane Gallery. © Jane Bown Estate. 

Encounter Francis Bacon through the eyes of Jane Bown in this new display.

Admission Free, All Welcome!

The photographer Jane Bown worked for The Observer newspaper for sixty years from 1949, taking portraits of famous faces of her time. In 1980, Bown photographed Francis Bacon in his studio at 7 Reece Mews, London, to accompany an interview by Miriam Gross. She later recalled, “I was rather frightened of him, I think, but what a face!” Bown used three rolls of film, first shooting the artist in his studio, then at his front door. She did not like the light in Bacon’s studio but on leaving, saw the opportunity for “the jackpot picture, that haunted face against a simple, dark background.”

This display features a selection of Bown’s photographs of Bacon at 7 Reece Mews, recently donated by Jane Bown Estate, along with selected items from the Gallery’s Francis Bacon Studio Archive.

The catalogue Bown + Bacon is now available for purchase at the gallery shop. Click here for more information about the publication.

 

  • Jane Bown

    Jane Bown, a renowned photographer, was born in 1925 in Dorset, England. She studied at the Guildford School of Art in the late 1940s and received her first commission from The Observer newspaper in 1949. Bown became known for her profound portraits, usually photographed in black and white and using the available light. An intuitive photographer, she worked quickly and with minimal equipment, enabling her to capture the spontaneity of her subject. Her subjects include Bertrand Russell, Samuel Beckett, Bette Davis, Lucian Freud, Björk and Francis Bacon and his partner John Edwards. Bacon used one of her portraits at the door to 7 Reece Mews as the frontispiece to his 1985 Tate Gallery retrospective exhibition catalogue.

  • Francis Bacon

    Born in Dublin in 1909, Bacon grew up in county Kildare. He left home at the age of sixteen and eventually settled in London, where he established himself as one of the leading international artists of his generation. Bacon moved into 7 Reece Mews, London, in 1961, where he lived and worked until he died in 1992.

    In 1998, director Barbara Dawson secured the donation of Francis Bacon’s studio from the artist’s heir, John Edwards, and Brian Clarke, executor of the Estate of Francis Bacon and relocated it to Hugh Lane Gallery.

    Discover the Francis Bacon Studio.

Jane Bown, Francis Bacon, 1980. Collection and Image © Hugh Lane Gallery. © Jane Bown Estate.

Jane Bown, Francis Bacon, 1980. Collection and Image © Hugh Lane Gallery. © Jane Bown Estate.

Jane Bown, John Edwards in Profile, 1985. Collection and Image © Hugh Lane Gallery. © Jane Bown Estate.

Postcard from Jane Bown to Francis Bacon, 1985. Collection and Image © Hugh Lane Gallery. © Jane Bown Estate.

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